Alumni returning to alma mater

Dr. Fred Waldstein (left) receiving an athletic academic award in 1974 for his work in class and in sports. —Wartburg Fortress
Dr. Fred Waldstein (left) receiving an athletic academic award in 1974 for his work in class and in sports. —Wartburg Fortress

Twice in the academic year, students from Wartburg graduate and leave memories of their time in school. Most graduates find jobs across the world, others look for new schools to receive higher degrees, but some end up returning to their alma mater as faculty and staff members.

Wartburg has hired alumni of many generations from the 1970s to 2014. Over the years, Wartburg has changed in size and education Chris Knudson ’01, director of creative strategy, said.

“Physically the campus was very different. In 2001, the football stadium was just going in. Knights Village was just a year old. There was no Lohe Hall. The student center was the student union. There was no ‘W,’” Knudson said.

“There has been a lot of physical changes to the campus, but the spirit of the place is still the same as it would have been when I was a student.”

Everyone has stories to share about their experiences at Wartburg, and for Jay and Stephanie Boeding it was a memorable four years.

“It was the late ’90s, it was a heavy-time full of promise,” Stephanie Boeding ’99, alumni communications coordinator, said. “As a student, especially as a junior and senior, you felt like you were able to be in charge of a lot of things and make things happen. It was very empowering because you felt the sky is the limit.”

During the Boedings’ time as students, several pranks were being held by the radio station, which Jay Boeding ‘99, development officer, was involved in.

“It was a fun time with the Luther rivalry,” Stephanie Boeding said.

The Boedings remember the movement the by student body to bring back a spring Outfly to school. In the past there was an Outfly each semester, but it was taken away and just made into once a year, Jay Boeding said.

“We marched up to the president’s house and if you look back in the ’96-’97 yearbook, you’ll see it,” Jay Boeding said.

There is a very different atmosphere to being a member of Wartburg’s staff than a student, Jay Boeding said.

“When you are a student here you look at the things that you’re working on and the classes and activities you are involved in,” Jay Boeding said. “As a staff person, it’s easier to have a more campus-wide and whole look at all the different pieces on the campus.”

The education you receive at Wartburg is a lot better than what it was like 40 years ago, Dr. Fred Waldstein ’74, professor of political science and director of Wartburg’s Institute for Leadership Education, said.

“I think that it is a much better school today than it was when I was a student. I think the faculty in many ways is stronger and I think that our student body is stronger,” Waldstein said.

While the school has improved over the years, the opportunities presented by the school were still there in the ’70s, Fred Waldstein said.

“I played athletics, I was on the basketball team for four years, I served in student government, I served as student body vice president for two years,” Fred Waldstein said. “I took seriously my academic work and enjoyed a close relationship with my professors.”

Dr. Edith Waldstein ’73, vice president for enrollment management, said her experience at Wartburg was unique for her.

“I was an English minor, and one of the professors, Sam Michaelson, took a group of us to San Francisco for May term. He had a great understanding on the cultural and political activities. There was just a lot, in the late ’60s, going on in San Francisco culturally.”

There were a couple of reasons that brought Edith and Fred Waldstein back to Wartburg, Edith Waldstein said. The first was because the college was looking for a chair to start the leadership department. The second reason was to give their children an education in the Midwest.

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